Academic Staff Development Newsletter - May 2017

Welcome from Dr Alison Leggett, Head of Academic Staff Development

Welcome to our quarterly Academic Staff Development (ASD) Newsletter. This edition provides you with an insight into some of the ways we are supporting research and research staff at the University of Bristol. Alongside the usual team news and dates for upcoming courses. I would like to make a special mention of a new programme we are piloting this summer, 'Making the most of your first post-doc' on Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 June. The closing date for applications is midnight on Sunday 21 May.

Our next newsletter will focus on teaching and learning and will be published in August. Don’t forget that you can browse all our events on our website and we welcome contributions to our newsletters so please get in touch if you have any comments or suggestions.

Dr Alison Leggett

Where do you want to be in 5 years? How do you get there?

You have probably been mentored at some point in your life. Think back to a time when someone took an interest in your welfare, shared their own experience and knowledge with you and enabled you to develop. In essence this is what mentoring is all about – an enabling relationship based on an exchange of knowledge, experience and goodwill.

Through our Research Staff Development Fund we have been able to support Rob Hughes, a Research Assistant in Mechanical Engineering, in setting up ‘The Peers’ Project’ to encourage and support PhD students and early-career researchers in finding and achieving their career aspirations. The Peers’ Project aims to help you make the daunting progression between starting your career and thriving in it, by offering support from those who’ve successfully made the transition.

Members of the project will join an active community of doctoral students, research professionals and entrepreneurs from start-ups, industry and academia with a wide range of experience, backgrounds and disciplines. The aim is to support and encourage collaboration, new ways of thinking and discover career paths you never thought existed.

Read more about The Peers’ Project and how to get involved

2017 Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) - win an iPad Mini!

How do you feel about your experience as a researcher at the University of Bristol? Every two years The University of Bristol - and several other UK Universities - carry out the CROS (Careers in Research Online Survey) survey to find out what researchers think about their work experiences and conditions in order to improve that experience and help you to progress in your career.

Let us know what you think today by completing the CROS 2017 Survey using the personal log in details you were sent from Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) on Wednesday 3 May. All University of Bristol research staff who complete the survey will be entered into a draw for an iPad mini. The survey will close for everyone on Wednesday 31 May.

Contact Mike Gulliver or Claire Wrixon if you have any questions about CROS.


About us

Academic staff development aims to enhance and support excellence in academic practice at Bristol across leadership, professional skills, research and teaching, working with staff across all three Academic Pathways.

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What We’re Reading

If there is one sector of society that should be cultivating deep thought in itself and others, it is academia. Yet the corporatisation of the contemporary university has sped up the clock, demanding increased speed and efficiency from faculty regardless of the consequences for education and scholarship. In The Slow Professor, Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber discuss how adopting the principles of the Slow movement in academic life can counter this erosion of humanistic education. Berg, M (2016) The Slow Professor. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Spotlight On...GW4 Crucible

February and March saw the GW4 Developing People team running the first two ‘Labs’ of the GW4 2017 Crucible. The Crucible consists of four labs in all; focusing as a whole on the GW4 theme of ‘Healthy Living’. Each Lab is a residential two day event facilitated by GW4 staff, the Crucible Programme Director, Dr Tracey Stead, and a wide range of other invited experts and guests. GW4 Crucible is a great opportunity to give these rising stars the time and space to foster and reflect on new ways of thinking and working, preparing them to be successful future researchers, and research leaders.

Find out more about GW4 Crucible

Team News

There are a number of new faces in Academic Staff Development since the last newsletter – we are pleased to welcome Mike Gulliver as a Staff Development Officer for GW4, Tracey Chapman as the Administrative Team Co-ordinator, and Michael Basri and Katie Manktelow as Administrative Assistants.

Congratulations to Pam Lock on her recent wedding, and to Alison Leggett who will start maternity leave in June. Dr Simon Swales will be starting at the end of May as Acting Head of Academic Staff Development.  

What We're Doing... 6th Annual PedRIO Conference 2017

Louise Fisher, Educational Developer, attended the 6th Annual PedRIO Conference conference in Plymouth on 4 April which aimed to bring colleagues together from across and beyond the University to share pedagogic research. The keynote Professor Lesley-Jane Eales-Reynolds kicked off the event with a thought provoking topic “Critical Thinking - More questions than answers?” which set the tone for an exploration of a variety of research topics from across disciplines, universities and countries.

From workshops focussing on moving away from 'Victorian' Higher Education to deliver teaching excellence (led by Brian Whalley from the University of Sheffield) to posters on using augmented reality to enhance the students’ laboratory experience (by Mrs Sara Smith from the University Of Wolverhampton), the event showcased the breadth and depth of pedagogic research currently happening within Higher Education.

The themes for the conference focused on five key areas and were based on research from across and between disciplines:

  • Teaching Excellence
  • Supporting the Student Experience
  • Feedback and Feedforward in Assessment
  • Authentic Learning
  • Ideas and Opportunities

View the conference documents

What Academic Staff Development did for me...

Dr Valeska Ting is a Reader in Smart Nanomaterials in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. When she was encouraged by her Head of School to apply for the WISE Career Development programme she already had a track record of leadership in her current role (involving supervision of 1 PDRA and 5 PhD students, securing and managing grant funding and teaching in thermodynamics and materials) and had won national and international awards in recognition of her research into materials for sustainable energies.

Here Valeska tells us about the impact a place on the WISE programme had for her...

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